OUT OF A SHIPYARD SOMEWHERE
IN A PLACE CALLED CAMDEN, I KNOW
A SHIP WAS ABOUT TO BE LAUNCHED,
AND TO THE SEA IT WAS READY TO GO.
BUT IT LAY OUT IN THE HARBOR
WHERE ALL ITS ADJUSTMENTS WERE MADE
IT REALLY TOOK A LONG TIME
AND ITS GLORY STARTED TO FADE.
FINALLY THE PROPER DAY ARRIVED,
THE GALLANT CREW MARCHED ABOARD
AND SALUTED DIRECTLY TO THE MAST
AS THE AMERICAN FLAG THERE SOARED.
NOW ON THIS JANUARY THE TWENTY THIRD
THIS SHIP WAS GIVEN A NAME,
AND THE MIGHTY "SWERVE" UPON THAT DAY
WAS READY FOR THAT ROAD TO FAME.
SHE WAS AS NEAT AND TRIM AS A PIN,
HER LINES WERE A SIGHT TO BEHOLD,
SHE WAS WATER-TIGHT THROUGHOUT
FROM TOPSIDE TO THE SMALLEST HOLD.
THE CREW WAS A NOSY BUNCH
WHO COMPLAINED ABOUT THE CHOW,
AND FIGURED THAT THIS SHIP
WAS JUST A GARBAGE SCOW.
THE OFFICERS OF THIS MIGHTY SHIP
WERE A BUNCH OF REGULAR MEN,
WHO ALWAYS KEPT HER IN SHAPE
AND TOLD THE CREW HOW AND WHEN.
WE SAILED ALONG A COUPLE OF MONTHS
WITH ALL THE CREW ABOARD,
NEW GEAR WAS SOON ADJUSTED
AND ALL THE PROVISIONS STORED.
THEN ONE DAY WE LEFT THE STATES
FOR OUR JOURNEY FAR AND WIDE,
WITH ALL THE ENGINES THROBBING
AND TAKING THE WAVES IN STRIDE.
NO MATTER HOW ROUGH THE SEA
HOW THE SHIP ROCKED AND ROLLED,
THE CREW STUCK BY HER SIDE
AND DAY AND NIGHT THEY TOILED.

TO THE USS SWERVE

NOW MUSIC ON THIS MIGHTY SHIP
WE LISTENED TO THE BOSN'S PIPE
AND EVERY TIME THAT CHIEF STORMED BY
THE SEAMEN WOULD RUN WITH FRIGHT.
HE'D DRIVE THEM DAY AND NIGHT
TO KEEP THE DECKS ALL CLEAN,
AND KEEP THE BOYS FROM SLEEPING
AND CRAP GAMES WERE NEVER SEEN.
BUT THE BOYS ALL LIKED TO PLAY
AND CARD GAMES WERE OFTEN GOING
BACK IN THE AFTER MINE STORAGE
THEIR EARNINGS THEY'D BE SOWING.
INTO THE MEDITERRANEAN WE SAILED
TO SWEEP THE CHANNELS BY DAY
AND PATROL THE WATERS BY NIGHT,
FOR THE CREW WAS ALWAYS READY
AND NEVER FEARED A FIGHT.
WE WERE A MIGHTY LUCKY SHIP
AND THE CASUALTIES WERE FEW
AND JUST A FEW NARROW MISSES
WERE ALL WE EVER KNEW.
THE LATE ONE SUNDAY MORINING
THE DAY JULY NUMBERED NINE,
THAT OUR JOURNEY SUDDENLY ENDED
AT EXACTLY TWELVE FIFTY-NINE.
WE WERE SWEEPING IN A CHANNEL
JUST AFTER A CHICKEN DINNER,
WHEN A MINE SUDDENLY EXPLODED
AND TORE THE DECKS LIKE TIMBER.
IT CAME UP UNDER THE PORT SCREW
AND BLEW THE FANTAIL APART,
THE BILGE PUMPS WERE STRAINING
AND FIRES WERE ABOUT TO START.
THEY KEEP THE FIRES UNDER CONTROL,
AND THE INJURED CARRIED TOPSIDE,
WHILE THE SHIP WAS SLOWLY SINKING
AND ROLLED OVER ON HER SIDE.
 
 
 
THEN ABANDON SHIP WAS CALLED
AND OVER THE SIDE WE WENT,
AND WATCHED THIS MIGHT SHIP
AS TO THE BOTTOM SHE WENT.
THE INJURED MEN WERE IN A FIX
AS THEY COULDN'T SWIM AWAY,
BUT 'TWAS THEIR GALLANT BUDDIES
WHO SAVED THEM THAT DAY.
THE SWERVE WENT DOWN LIKE A LADY
AS SHE ROLLED OVER ON HER SIDE,
TO SINK BENEATH THE SURFACE
WHERE NO MORE WAVES SHE'LL RIDE.
SHE TOOK THREE SAILORS WITH HER
AS SHE WENT TO HER WATERY GRAVE,
THOSE MEN AND SHE GAVE UP BRAVELY
AS AMERICA'S FREEDOM THEY'D SAVE.
WAY DOWN IN DAVEY JONES LOCKER,
MAY THE MEN FIND HEAVENLY REST,
FOR THEY PROUDLY GAVE THEIR LIVES
AND THE SWERVE TOO, DONE HER BEST.
SO TO THE "SWERVE AND HER MEN"
WE WILL SEND A HEARTY TOAST,
AS THEY PAID THE SUPREME PRICE
SO WAR WOULDN'T REACH OUR COAST.
HER SAILING DAYS ARE OVER
AND HER CREW IS READY AGAIN
TO TAKE ANOTHER GALLANT SHIP
AND ANOTHER CHANCE TO WIN.
FOR WHEN THE WAR IS OVER,
TOAST'S TO HERO'S WE'LL SING,
PRAISES FOR THOSE THREE MEN
AND "SWERVE" WILL FOREVER RING.
DALE DUANE LUTHI, RM3/C (1923 - 2008)
USS SWERVE (AM-121)
WAKEFIELD, KANSAS
WRITTEN: JULY 21, 1944
PUBLISHED WITH PERMISSION OF
HIS LOVING DAUGHTER

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